Graduate and Postdoctoral Professional Development (GPPD)

The annual Graduate and Postdoctoral Professional Development (GPPD) seminar series covers a range of topics that are of interest to trainees including abstract writing, job search skills, poster presentation skills, and career opportunities.

GPPD topics are organized by core competencies that are nationally recognized in graduate education. We continue to consult with faculty and students to develop additional GPPD seminars to align with programmatic and student needs.


To assist students and postdoctoral scholars in tracking and sharing their skills acquisition, the Graduate School has instituted micro-credentialing, wherein GPPD seminar attendees earn credentials or digital "badges" for the knowledge and skills they acquire from the GPPD series and related activities. Micro-credentials are shareable on personal LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and/or Mozilla Backpack pages to show off skills that are highly desired by employers but may not be apparent from a transcript or diploma. Learn more about micro-credentials.

Recordings of past events are available in the GPPD Archive.

Upcoming GPPD seminars

2017-2018 Schedule (Additional details and registration coming soon.)

Personal integrity in the workplace digital badge


Personal integrity in the workplace

Noon to 1:30 pm, Wednesday, September 27

Undergraduate Library (UGL) Community Room – Brown Bag lunch event with beverages provided.

Attendees will discuss ethics in the context of the workplace and how this might be similar or different than in academic contexts. *Micro-credential available in Professional Ethics

Session leader: Lars Johnson, Ph.D. CLAS, Psychology 

  • Describe the value of one's own personal responsibility and integrity to one's work team.
  • Identify appropriate and inappropriate ethical behavior in work contexts.
  • Describe one's personal ethics code that is aligned with research and professional ethics guidelines.

Register online

BEST community engagement digital badgeBEST community engagement

4:30 to 6:30 p.m., October 11, 2017, UGL Community Room

This is a 90-minute seminar event that will address employment in the community for biomedical doctoral trainees and postdoctoral scientists interested in exploring multiple career pathways.  Faculty and staff are welcome to attend.  Presenters include WSU faculty and alumni who have pursued careers in this domain. Q&A will follow the presentation.

Panelists include:

Marcella Wilson, Ph.D., President and Founder, Transition to Success
Tonya Matthews, Ph.D., President and CEO, Michigan Science Center
Shelly Tucker, Ph.D., former CEO of Corrections2Community
Chuck Jackson, Ph.D., President, Community Social Services of Wayne County (CSSWC)

Download panelist bios

Register online

Writing research statements digital badgeWriting research statements

4 to 5:30 p.m., October 17, 2017

State Hall 0325

A strong research statement is a key component of a successful job search in academia or at other research-intensive institutions. In this seminar, we will learn what a research statement is, what components it should contain, how long it should be, the importance of good writing and background research, and what constitutes a winning research statement. This will be a hands-on seminar, with writing exercises and the opportunity to compare research statements written by others.

Session leader: Peter Hoffmann, Ph.D (CLAS, Physics and Material Science, Senior Associate Dean of Research)

After attending this GPPD, attendees will be able to:

  • Explain the important role of research statements in job applications.
  • Identify the essential components of a research statement.
  • Apply professional writing techniques.
  • Compose strong professional research statements.
  • Critically examine and compare research statements to understand how they may be evaluated by potential reviewers.

Register online


1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Undergraduate Library (UGL) Bernath

This is an information session for F-1 students on the eligibility, process, and regulations for working in the United States on Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT). 

International students who have found an internship related to their program of study or who are interested in applying for the BEST Program's Phase III Career Exploration should attend this GPPD to learn about their options for pursuing such opportunities under an F-1 visa. There will be a Q&A following the presentation.

Presented by Chamu Gowrishankar, Assistant Director of the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) at Wayne State.

Register online

Three minute thesis digital badgeThree Minute Thesis (3MT) prep

4 to 5:30 p.m., October 31, 2017

State Hall 0325

This GPPD will provide information about the Wayne State University 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. The 3MT was developed by The University of Queensland and consists of a 3-minute long oral presentation on a master's thesis or dissertation. Session leaders will describe the competition and offer helpful strategies for creating competitive 3MT presentations. Students who win their school or college competition will go on to compete for monetary prizes at the WSU Graduate and Postdoctoral Research Symposium in March 2018.

Session Leaders: Dr. Denise Vultee (Communication) and Dr. Annmarie Cano (The Graduate School; Psychology)

After attending this GPPD, attendees will be able to:

  • Describe the benefits of distilling their research into a 3MT format.
  • Describe the rules and procedures of the 3MT competition.
  • Identify best practices in visual and oral communication strategies for the 3MT competition. 
  • Create a competitive 3MT presentation to be entered into their department/school/college competitions. 

Register online

cv to resume digital badgeSciPhD Mini-Bootcamp, cover letters/CV to resume

8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., November 3, 2017 
5057 Woodward (Maccabees Building), 6th Floor Conference Room A

This is a small careers bootcamp for doctoral trainees and postdoctoral scientists interested in exploring multiple career pathways. It will focus on the construction of cover letters and the conversion of a CV to a resume in preparation for applying for jobs outside of tenure-track positions at a university. This bootcamp will be conducted by Dr. Randy Ribaudo, founder of SciPhD.

Lunch and coffee are included. Registrants should bring a laptop.

This event is free, but limited to 20 participants. Please register soon to reserve your spot.  

This careers event is co-sponsored by the BEST [Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training] program in the Graduate School. 

Register online

Abstract writing digital badgeAbstract writing

4 to 5:30 p.m., Tues., November 14, 2017

Undergraduate Library (UGL) Community Room

This seminar provides preparation in writing abstracts for the upcoming Graduate and Postdoctoral Research Symposium, other research conferences, and manuscript publication in academic journals. Attendees can bring an abstract they are working on OR an abstract they have previously submitted, this seminar will help prepare for future submissions. 

Session Leaders:  Paul Stemmer, Ph.D. (Institute of Environmental Health Sciences), David Merolla, Ph.D. (CLAS, Department of Sociology), Sara Tipton (English Language Institute), Peter M. Hoffmann, Ph.D. (CLAS, Physics and Material Science, Senior Associate Dean of Research)

After attending this GPPD, attendees will be able to:

  • Identify essential elements of an abstract for conferences and manuscript publications.
  • Provide constructive feedback for colleagues regarding their abstract writing.
  • Write a competitive abstract for submission to conferences or journals.

Building an online network digital badgeLanding a career with LinkedIn

4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Welcome Center auditorium

According to a recent study by Jobvite, more than 90% of recruiters use social media as a part of the talent acquisition process, and 87% of the respondents are using LinkedIn. These staggering statistics imply a necessity for job seekers to have not only an active profile on LinkedIn, but one that stands out from the millions of users seeking the same jobs. In this seminar, participants will learn from career expert and social media professional, Jay Johnson, how to leverage the power of the online networking tool LinkedIn to identify, apply, and land the job of their dreams. The seminar will explore advanced methods of searching and identifying prospective career opportunities, connecting and engaging with key personnel and influencers, and building a profile that will get you noticed. This is a seminar you won't want to miss; your career could depend on it.

After attending this GPPD, attendees will be able to: 

  • Design a compelling LinkedIn profile to stand out from competing applicants and capture the interest of potential recruiters. 
  • Utilize advanced search methods to identify and engage potential hiring managers, decision makers, or company personnel for respective career targets. 
  •  Apply specific LinkedIn tools and functions to maximize their online potential. 
  • Avoid common LinkedIn errors and blunders in job seeking.

This careers event is co-sponsored by the BEST [Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training] program in the Graduate School.

poster design digital badgePoster design and presentation

4 to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, January 16, 2018

State Hall 0325

In this session, attendees will learn best practices in designing posters for presentation at conferences as well as presenting poster information to conference attendees.

After attending this GPPD, attendees will be able to:

  • Identify best practices in poster design including use of graphics, font, organization, and scope.
  • Describe the scope of one's poster presentation to create an effective poster.
  • Provide and welcome feedback to improve poster design skills.
  • Describe in 5-10 minutes the highlights of one's poster research.
  • Provide and welcome feedback to improve oral presentation skills.

job talk digital badgeAcademic job talk

4 to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, January 23, 2018

State Hall 0325

Panelists will share best practices in preparing and delivering an academic "job talk," a centerpiece of any interview for an academic job. Panelists will engage in discussion with attendees about behaviors that convey professionalism and expertise.

  • Identify best practices in crafting and delivering job talks for post-doc and academic positions.
  • Avoid practices that distract an audience during longer presentations.
  • Provide and welcome feedback to improve presentation skills.
  • Create and deliver a competitive job talk to colleagues and potential employers.

Ask Human Resources: What can HR do for me as a WSU postdoctoral scholar?

4 to 5:30, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018

Mazurek 242/3

The postdoctoral scholar session of the Graduate and Postdoctoral Professional Development (GPPD) session will provide a general overview of how HR supports postdoctoral scholar initiatives at the university. In addition, it will provide career service training to help postdocs transition into future positions.  The session will include an overview by Mrs. Cindy Pellow, WSU HR Consultant, on what HR can do for postdoctoral scholars at the university, followed by a question and answer session to discover additional unrecognized postdoc needs. It will conclude with a presentation on differences between a resume and a curriculum vitae, and cover the ABC's of interviewing tactics.

graphic design digital badgeVisual communication in science

Noon to 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, February 14, 2018

State Hall 0325

Communicating well about ideas, processes, and results is as critical to the work of science as data collection, analysis, etc. The effective use of visual information is indispensable in scientific communication. Using examples of from scientific diagrams, tables, and illustrations, this presentation will discuss the "hierarchy of information" and the kinds of visual signaling that make it work. This seminar will include both lecture and workshop time. Participants are asked to bring 3 printed examples and data from their own research that they want to make into a diagram.

Session Leader: Judith A. Moldenhauer, M.F.A. (Art & Art History, Graphic Design)

After attending this GPPD, attendees will be able to:

  • Recognize the visual qualities that make good, effective scientific diagrams.
  • Know the importance of the hierarchy of information to data in the creation of effective diagrams.
  • Articulate the one main thing they want to communicate with data through in a diagram.
  • Create a diagram that communicates one main point by effectively presenting data using the visual hierarchy of information.

teaching portfolio digital baadgeCreating a teaching portfolio

Noon to 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, February 21, 2018

State Hall 0325

Teaching portfolios can serve as a particularly useful communication tool during the academic job search. Portfolios offer a way to communicate to potential colleagues your preparation and commitment to student learning and teaching. In this workshop, we will explore the purpose of and most common elements of a teaching portfolio, the steps to preparing your own, and identify campus resources s to help you complete your own portfolio it in a timely and efficient manner. 

Session leaders: Tonya Whitehead and Sara Kacin, Ph.D., Office of Teaching and Learning

After attending this GPPD, attendees will be able to:

  • Describe the purpose of a teaching portfolio.
  • Identify the key ingredients to incorporate into a teaching portfolio.
  • Identify the essential elements of an effective statement of teaching philosophy. 
  • Create a teaching portfolio following an organized strategy.

View past events, download presentation materials and listen to recorded audio.